Portuguese Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken Recipe made with garlic and peppers


We’re loving Rebecca Seal’s book, Lisbon: Recipes from Portugal’s Beautiful Southern Region. Her amazing Piri Piri chicken recipe is perfect for an easy meal in the oven. Traditionally, Piri Piri chicken is made on the grill, but her method makes it simple for any night of the week. She also suggests using the marinade on a whole roasted chicken if you don’t want to use pieces.

To complete your dinner, just toss in some pieces of sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, and/or bell peppers in the pan alongside the chicken to roast. Toss the pieces with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. If you really want to eat like a local, Rebecca suggests pairing your Piri Piri chicken with beer or chilled vinho verde, a Portuguese white wine that we love – especially in the summer.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Piri Piri Chicken
  • 4 whole free-range (organic if possible) chicken legs (thigh and drumstick together)
  • 4 tablespoons Piri Piri Sauce (either store-bought or using the recipe below)
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a little salt
  1. Place all the ingredients in a large oven tray and toss until the chicken is well coated. You can cook the chicken straight away but ideally leave it to marinate for as long as you can – even overnight (in the fridge).
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4). Place the tray in the oven and cook for 45–55 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken legs, until the skin is crisp and sticky, the meat is cooked and pulls away from the bone easily, and the juices run clear.


Piri Piri sauce is a spicy sauce made with peppers. It can be used on chicken, fish, and even in bloody marys in place of hot sauce. The chilies are so hot that Rebecca uses gloves to handle them! We like to keep a box of these disposable gloves in our kitchen for when we’re handling things like this. If you can’t find her specific chilis, we’d recommend using the spiciest chilies you can to make this one!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Piri Piri Sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 large medium-hot red chili peppers, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 Piri Piri, Malagueta or African Bird’s Eye chilies, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 sweet red (bell) peppers, halved, ribs and seeds removed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot Piri Piri powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons whisky
  1. Thoroughly clean a heatproof jar (including the lid) in hot soapy water, then place the jar in a low oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Place all the ingredients into a blender and purée until roughly combined. Taste and decide whether you would like more heat; add another chilli or even two if you really like heat. (The fieriness of the paste will be weakened by cooking, so go for slightly more heat than you think you like.) Purée until really smooth, then transfer to the clean, sterilised jar, seal and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.


Excerpted with permission from Lisbon: Recipes from Portugal’s Beautiful Southern Region by Rebecca Seal and Steven Joyce, published by Hardie Grant Books June 2017.


Piri Piri chicken is an easy one pan dinner. Add potatoes and peppers for a full dinner! You'll make this spicy chicken recipe over and over again


  1. WOW! That looks absolutely delicious. I have never tried Piri Piri chicken before, but I definitely will give this one a try soon, maybe next week. Hope it will turn out great. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Diane, Let us know if you try it! We love all things Piri Piri and first learned about it when we lived in Chicago and went to PQM. They have an amazing sandwich with piri piri and smoked turkey. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.